Meru teacher charged with sexual assault as abuse scourge hits country

Court heard that Mr Mwiti has been sexually assaulting the girls, mostly in Standard Four, since January.

Wednesday March 16 2016

Mr Julius Mwiti, 45, a teacher at Mugae Primary School when he appeared in a Meru court on March 15, 2016 charged with sexually assaulting 10 pupils. PHOTO | DARLINGTON MANYARA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Julius Mwiti, 45, a teacher at Mugae Primary School when he appeared in a Meru court on March 15, 2016 charged with sexually assaulting 10 pupils. PHOTO | DARLINGTON MANYARA | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DARLINGTON MANYARA
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By JOEL MUINDE
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A Meru teacher was Tuesday charged with sexually assaulting 10 of his pupils barely a week after a report revealed that there is rampant sexual, physical and verbal assault of children in primary schools.

Mr Julius Mwiti, 45,  a teacher at Mugae Primary School appeared before the Meru principal magistrate Joseph Karanja and denied the charges.

Mr Mwiti was charged with 10 charges of sexually assaulting 10 girls aged between eight to eleven years and 10 alternative counts for unlawfully practising indecent acts with children.

The court heard that Mr Mwiti has been sexually assaulting the girls, mostly in Standard Four, since January this year with the most recent offence being committed on March 8 at the school in Rwarera location in Buuri district.

Mr Mwiti was released on Sh1 million bond with a surety of a similar amount and his case will be mentioned on March 24 while the hearing will be on July 13.

RAMPANT SEXUAL ABUSE

According to a new report by the Women Educational Researchers of Kenya (WERK), Sexual Abuse of School Age Children: Evidence from Kenya, released this month sexual abuse meted against school children exists.

Worse still, teachers — the very people parents entrust with young ones — are one of the culprits in the sexual exploitation of children.

The WERK survey of 2,010 pupils in 79 public schools by Dr Sarah Ruto, found that nearly six in 10 children are verbally abused by their peers using words with sexual connation.

Additionally, while teachers constituted a mere 6% of sexual harassment perpetrators it is dizzyingly worrying that children themselves were the main culprits at 60% with neighbours coming a distance second with 16%.

In fact, children were less likely to be sexually harassed in public places such as in the bush, market, disco, town and ceremonies than at home and school.

Last year, the Teachers Service Commission banned 126 teachers from working in any school in Kenya after they were found guilty of having sexual relations with students and other misconduct.

Of those, 100 engaged in sexual relations with learners in breach of their profession's code of conduct, investigations by the TSC's Disciplinary Committee revealed.

A majority of the blacklisted instructors, 124, were male while two were female.

In 2010, more than 500 teachers were fired following reports of professional misconduct that included sexual exploitation of students — including flirting, sex, and impregnation.

Last week, a deputy principal of a secondary school in Bungoma County raised the alarm after 20 girls were found to be pregnant following a routine test.

Blame games ensured with a parent fingering the school leadership, saying that it should have been strict in its monitoring of students.

The deputy head teacher, Mr David Emachar, rejected those claims claiming that the school staff conducted regular counselling sessions with the students and warned them against engaging in sex.

In July last year, the TSC also interdicted the Njoro High School principal and her deputy after one of the teachers at the institution was charged with sexually molesting six students.

TSC found the two leaders, Ms Milka Wanderi and Esther Mbugua, guilty of “negligence of duty and failing to take action where six of their students were allegedly sexually molested.”

Another high school principal was also interdicted in 2015 over negligence for failing to take action against a male teacher who allegedly raped a Form One student at the Highridge Secondary School in Nairobi.

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